After consecutive losses of 5-2 and 4-2 in their relegation series against Latvia, Austria was today relegated to the World Junior Division IA in 2024, returning to the lower division for the first time since 2020.
Going 0-4 in the Group Round, Austria was outscored by a combined 35-2, sending them straight to the relegation round against Latvia, who managed a single point in a shootout loss to Switzerland, only being outscored 14-4 in their three losses. Despite leading Latvia 2-1 after the first period of their first relegation game, a pair of goals from Emīls Veckaktiņš sent Latvia to an easy Game One victory; in Game Two, despite scoring twice with the goaltender pulled in the third period, Austria could not overcome a four goal deficit, dropping the contest 4-2.
Austria was a beneficiary of the lack of relegation and lower-division tournaments thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, staying in the Top Division for three consecutive World Junior Championships, despite finishing in last place in all three years.
Austria will now join Denmark, France, Hungary, Kazakhstan and newly-promoted Japan in next year’s Division IA series, while Norway will replace Austria as the promoted team in the Top Division, making their return to the top for the first time since 2014, sweeping this year’s Division IA tournament in Asker, Norway. Austria’s relegation continues the inconsistent rotation of various teams being sent back down to Division IA over the years:
2012: 🇩🇰 Denmark
2013: 🇱🇻 Latvia
2014: 🇳🇴 Norway
2015: 🇩🇪 Germany
2016: 🇧🇾 Belarus
2017: 🇱🇻 Latvia
2018: 🇧🇾 Belarus
2019: 🇩🇰 Denmark
2020: 🇰🇿 Kazakhstan
2021: none due to COVID-19 pandemic
2022: none due to COVID-19 pandemic
2023: 🇦🇹 Austria
Photo Credit: 2023 World Junior Championship – IIHF – HHOF – IOC